Netflix, the world’s largest streaming service, announced on Tuesday that it attracted more customers than projected in the most recent quarter and that it will add video games to its entertainment mix to boost growth.

According to an earnings release, the firm concluded the second quarter with 209 million paid members and $7.3 billion in sales, up 19% from the same period last year.

Profit was reported at $1.35 billion, up from $1.7 billion in the previous quarter. The net income number fell short of market forecasts.

The streaming leader said the epidemic had “produced unprecedented choppiness” in its performance after a year of robust growth during the pandemic, which has since faded.

Netflix stated that it is “in the early phases of growing into gaming” and that it is “continue to invest in content” as production recovers from pandemic-caused delays.

“We see gaming as another new content category for us, similar to our push into original films, animation, and unscripted television,” the streamer explained.

“Games, like films and shows, will be included in customers’ Netflix subscriptions at no additional cost.”

Following the release of the earnings numbers, Netflix shares rose modestly in after-market activities.

According to eMarketer senior analyst Eric Haggstrom, Netflix appears to have hit a saturation point in terms of reaching homes in the United States, but has been able to hike prices and boost revenue in the US market.

“Expansions into video games, music, and goods may generate some incremental growth,” Haggstrom said, “but overall growth in subscribers and revenue should be substantially smaller than in the past.”

He also mentioned that Netflix had lost some market share to Disney+, a relative streaming upstart that is just in its second year.

Netflix has hired a Facebook video game veteran to manage its gaming unit.

Mike Verdu was appointed to oversee video game production at the Silicon Valley firm, which has openly stated that popular games like Fortnite compete for people’s online entertainment time.

Netflix has already experimented with games, publishing an interactive “Bandersnatch” episode of original series “Black Mirror” as well as a free mobile game based on its smash show “Stranger Things.”

The corporation has gradually added video gaming experience, but Verdu is a high-profile hire who could signify a shift in strategy.

According to an April analysis by consulting firm Accenture, the worldwide gaming business is currently worth more than $300 billion, thus Netflix’s decision would open up a new and highly profitable revenue stream for the digital behemoth.

In a tweet, Loop Ventures manager partner Gene Munster stated, “Mobile will be first and included in the Netflix membership.”

“It’s a smart approach to keep and grow paying subscribers. There are over 2 billion monthly gamers worldwide.”

According to executives, Netflix’s push into video games plays to its strengths of storytelling and content production and is intended to help the core subscription service thrive.

“We really see this as an extension of the fundamental entertainment experience that we’ve been focusing on for the last 20 years,” Netflix chief product officer Greg Peters said during an earnings call.

“This is going to be a multi-year effort, and we’re going to start modestly.”

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has consistently stated that the company’s key competitors are not only other major streaming services such as HBO Max, Hulu, or Disney+, but also other online and mobile entertainment platforms.

“In the drive to entertain consumers around the world, we continue to compete for screen time with a diverse group of enterprises such as YouTube, Epic Games, and TikTok (to name a few),” Netflix stated in a statement.

Netflix cited Amazon’s imminent purchase of the venerable MGM studios for $8.45 billion as evidence of industry consolidation, but claimed the move would not impede the expansion of its streaming service.